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Updated: 4 hours 41 min ago

Eric Holder Says Snowden Performed 'Public Service'

4 hours 42 min ago
An anonymous reader writes from a report via CNN: Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says Edward Snowden performed a "public service" by triggering a debate over surveillance techniques, but still must pay a penalty for illegally leaking a trove of classified intelligence documents. "We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made," Holder told David Axelrod on "The Axe Files," a podcast produced by CNN and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. "Now I would say that doing what he did -- and the way he did it -- was inappropriate and illegal," Holder added. "I think that he's got to make a decision. He's broken the law in my view. He needs to get lawyers, come on back, and decide, see what he wants to do: Go to trial, try to cut a deal. I think there has to be a consequence for what he has done." "But," Holder emphasized, "I think in deciding what an appropriate sentence should be, I think a judge could take into account the usefulness of having had that national debate." You can listen to the podcast with Eric Holder here.

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Bitcoin Price Jumps 21% Over 4 Days, Reaching a 21-Month High

5 hours 27 min ago
An anonymous reader shares a TechCrunch report: Bitcoin is back! Or at least, there are positive signs indicating that bitcoin might not be as dead as everybody thought. Bitcoins are now trading at $547.40 on Bitfinex (the largest USD/bitcoin exchange according to Bitcoinity). And it represents a big 21.4 percent price jump over just four days. Today's price represents a 21-month high. Surprisingly, bitcoin prices had been relatively stable for the last two months before this weekend's jump. What's the reason behind this jump? It's hard to say. Huobi and OKCoin, the two dominant Chinese exchanges, have seen many new sign-ups, as well as many buy orders. Increasingly, bitcoin's price variations are correlated with macroeconomic trends in China. These trends tell us that China still fears a deflation.

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Telus To Shutter CDMA Service On January 31, 2017

6 hours 7 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: With most Canadian mobile devices on some form of HSPA+ or LTE network, you don't hear mention of CDMA that often anymore. And for good reason; carriers like Telus, which still maintain their CDMA network for legacy customers, plan to mothball the tech over the next few years. We now have a definitive date when Telus customers will no longer be able to use their old CDMA device. Over the weekend, the company sent text messages stating, "CDMA service ends January 31, 2017. Move to our 4G network with great offers."

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Estonian President Expresses Desire For More Digitally-Integrated Europe

6 hours 47 min ago
In a wide-ranging interview with Ars Technica, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik talked about European Digital Single Market (DSM), an ambitious goal that seeks to make commerce flow as smoothly across the 28-member block as it does in the United States. He cites the example of iTunes. From the report: What Estonia and Finland are doing is a step towards the DSM -- but there remain all kinds of national-level laws that stop Europe from being truly unified. "Take iTunes," President Ilves continued. "iTunes are based on credit cards. Credit cards are national. I cannot buy an iTunes record for my wife who has a Latvian credit card. I cannot buy her an iTunes record because I have an Estonian iTunes. This is true of virtually everything that is connected to digital services. And certainly this is why Estonia is at the forefront of the European Digital Single Market. As I like to say, it's easier to ship a bottle of Portuguese wine from southern Portugal in the Algarve and sell it in northern Lapland, than it is for me to buy an iTunes record across the Estonian-Latvian border."The report is worth a read in its entirety.

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Canada's Energy Superpower Status Threatened As World Shifts Off Fossil Fuel

7 hours 32 min ago
Robson Fletcher, reporting for CBC News: Canada's status as an "energy superpower" is under threat because the global dominance of fossil fuels could wane faster than previously believed, according to a draft report from a federal government think-tank obtained by CBC News. "It is increasingly plausible to foresee a future in which cheap renewable electricity becomes the world's primary power source and fossil fuels are relegated to a minority status," reads the conclusion of the 32-page document, produced by Policy Horizons Canada. "It's absolutely not pie in the sky," said Michal Moore from the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy. "These folks are being realistic -- they may not be popular, but they're being realistic." Marty Reed, CEO of Evok Innovations -- a Vancouver-based cleantech fund created through a $100-million partnership with Cenovus and Suncor -- had a similar take after reading the draft report.

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Net Neutrality Is Complicated: Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales

8 hours 17 min ago
In an interview, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales backed the principle of Net neutrality, but added that enabling poor people to access the Internet is equally important. Wales also defended Wikipedia Zero, a project that aims to provide select services free of cost on mobile devices in developing markets. He said :Wikipedia Zero follows a very strict set of principles such as no money is ever exchanged and so on. Net neutrality is such a complicated topic, it is something that I am extremely passionate about and I think is incredibly important. And at the same time I think getting access to knowledge for poorest people of world is also very important. Sometimes those two things can be in tension and we have to be really careful about it. I think fundamental thing is that we maintain and open and free Internet.

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Tesla To Hold Gigafactory Grand Opening on July 29

9 hours 2 min ago
Tesla's mammoth 13-acre battery making Gigafactory isn't due to begin production on lithium ion cells until next year, but according to a report on Fortune, the factory's grand opening is to be held on July 29. According to a report on Bloomberg, as of earlier this month, only 14 percent of the Gigafactory has been built so far. Though, Tesla is already utilizing it to produce Powerpacks and Powerwalls. The factory will apparently cost at least $5 billion to make. (Thanks to an anonymous reader for sharing the link.)

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ASUS' ZenBook 3 Is Thinner, Lighter and Faster Than the MacBook

9 hours 47 min ago
At the ongoing Computex trade show in China, Asus unveiled the ZenBook 3 laptop. The ZenBook 3's chassis measures 11.9mm while the whole body weighs 910g. At the event, the company's executive said that ZenBook 3 is better than both MacBook Air and the 12-inch MacBook. As for the specifications, the ZenBook 3, which is crafted from aerospace-grade aluminum alloy, sports a 12.5-inch full-HD display (1920x1080 pixels), and offers up to Core i7 processor, 16GB of 2133MHz RAM, up to a 1TB PCIe Gen 3 x4 SSD, a next-gen USB Type-C port (for power and data transfer), powerful quad-speaker audio by Harman Kardon, and a fingerprint scanner. Do note that there is only one USB port on the device. The entry-level variant featuring Core i5 processor, 256GB of SSD and 4GB of RAM is priced at 999, while the top-of-the-line model will set you back by $1,999. Asus also had nice things to say about the keyboard, though Engadget's reporter was not impressed. More details here.

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Miami Money-Laundering Case May Define Whether Bitcoin Is Really Money

10 hours 27 min ago
David Gilbert, reporting for IBTimes: Michell Espinoza, a 32-year-old computer programmer, was arrested for attempted money-laundering in 2014 when he sold $1,500 worth of bitcoin to undercover FBI agents who said they were going to use them to buy stolen credit cards. Now in a Florida courtroom, Espinoza and his lawyers are trying to get the charges dismissed on the grounds that bitcoin, under Florida law, should not be defined as actual money. (Editor's note: the source has annoying auto-playing videos. Alternatively you can use the link below.) This is thought to be the first case of its kind and the ruling by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler will be watched with great interest not only in the U.S., but around the world. "This is the most fascinating thing I've heard in this courtroom in a long time," Pooler said on Friday. A ruling is not expected for several weeks yet.The report also cites the take of Charles Evans, Associate Professor of Finance and Economics at Barry University, who provided evidence on behalf of the defense and told the court that bitcoin, in his opinion, is not money. He said, "Basically, it's poker chips that people are willing to buy from you." Miami Herald has more details.

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ARM's New CPU and GPU Will Power Mobile VR In 2017

11 hours 7 min ago
An anonymous cites a story on The Verge: ARM, the company that designs the processor architectures used in virtually all mobile devices on the market, has used Computex Taipei 2016 to announce new products that it expects to see deployed in high-end phones next year. The Cortex-A73 CPU and Mali-G71 GPU are designed to increase performance and power efficiency, with a particular view to supporting mobile VR. ARM says that its Mali line of GPUs are the most widely used in the world, with over 750 million shipped in 2015. The new Mali-G71 is the first to use the company's third-generation architecture, known as Bifrost. The core allows for 50 percent higher graphics performance, 20 percent better power efficiency, and 40 percent more performance per square mm over ARM's previous Mali GPU. With scaling up to 32 shader cores, ARM says the Mali-G71 can match discrete laptop GPUs like Nvidia's GTX 940M. It's also been designed around the specific problems thrown up by VR, supporting features like 4K resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, and 4ms graphics pipeline latency.

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Hackers Stole 65 Million Passwords From Tumblr

11 hours 52 min ago
Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, reporting for Motherboard: On May 12, Tumblr revealed that it had found out about a 2013 data breach affecting 'a set of users' email addresses and passwords, but the company refused to reveal how many users were affected. As it turns out, that number is 65 million, according to an independent analysis of the data. Troy Hunt, a security researcher who maintains the data breach awareness portal Have I Been Pwned, recently obtained a copy of the stolen data set. Hunt told Motherboard that the data contained 65,469,298 unique emails and passwords. Update: 05/30 16:36 GMT by M : An earlier version of the original report claimed that data of 68 million accounts were compromised. It's 65 million. The original story, and hence, this summary has been updated to reflect the same.

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John McAfee Denied Libertarian Party Nomination For President

14 hours 22 min ago
SonicSpike quotes an article at Reason: In a decisive rout for pragmatism over purity, the Libertarian Party has nominated former New Mexico Republican Governor and 2012 nominee Gary Johnson for president. Johnson came within an eyelash of winning on the first ballot, pulling 49.5 percent of the vote, just short of the required majority. (Libertarian activist Austin Petersen and software magnate John McAfee came in second and third, respectively, with 21.3 percent and 14.1 percent.) With sixth-place finisher Kevin McCormick (and his 0.973 percent of the vote) booted from the second ballot, Johnson sailed through with 55.8 percent. John Mcafee answered questions here on Slashdot in 2013. Reason's article includes a video of their interview this weekend with the party's official nominee Gary Johnson, who hopes to qualify for the nationally-televised presidential debates by drawing 15% of the support in national opinion polls.

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WWII Code-Breaker Dies At Age 95

18 hours 22 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes an article from the Washington Post: Jane Fawcett, a British code-breaker during World War II who deciphered a key German message that led to the sinking of the battleship Bismarck -- one of Britain's greatest naval victories during the war -- died May 21 at her home in Oxford, England. She was 95... Fluent in German and driven by curiosity, Mrs. Fawcett -- then known by her maiden name, Jane Hughes -- found work at Britain's top-secret code-breaking facility at Bletchley Park, about 50 miles northwest of London. Of the 12,000 people who worked there, about 8,000 were women. Bletchley Park later became renowned as the place where mathematician Alan Turing and others solved the puzzle of the German military's "Enigma machine," depicted in the 2014 film "The Imitation Game"... The sinking of the Bismarck marked the first time that British code-breakers had decrypted a message that led directly to a victory in battle... Mrs. Fawcett's work was not made public for decades. Along with everyone else at Bletchley Park, she agreed to comply with Britain's Official Secrets Act, which imposed a lifetime prohibition on revealing any code-breaking activities. Meanwhile, volunteers from The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park finally tracked down an original keyboard from the Lorenz machine used to encode top-secret messages between Hitler and his general. It was selling on eBay for 10 pounds, advertised as an old machine for sending telegrams.

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Real-World Pong Created by Amateur Builders

Sun, 05/29/2016 - 7:30pm
sproketboy shares this article about a computer graphic designer who spent two years building a real-world version of the classic videogame Pong, played on a full-sized coffee table using only mechanical parts. The project's team apparently used a hard drive platter for the real-world scroll wheels controlling the paddles, aided by some large Arduinos and other homemade electronics (along with rainbow LED lights to create the pixels for the score). "We don't have any electronics, product design, or manufacturing background," Daniel Perdomo told one technology site. "All we knew for this was thanks to the Internet (Google, YouTube, forums). Today you can grab all the knowledge you want just a few clicks away!" He's now looking for a hardware incubator to transform his "Atari Pong Project" into a real consumer product. (Interestingly, another group of hobbyists built a similar electromechanical version of Pong back In 2004.)

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Researchers Criticize New DAO Ethereum VC Fund

Sun, 05/29/2016 - 5:30pm
Three cryptocurrency experts published a scientific paper Friday detailing seven attacks that could influence how the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) allocates its Ether funds. An anonymous Slashdot reader writes, "Coincidentally or not, they released their work with one day before funding for the DAO closed, and not surprisingly, Ether's price went down, devaluing the DAO from $150 million to $132 million." From Softpedia: DAO is a crowdfunded project that works on the Ethereum network, a new crypto-currency network that deals with crypto-currency named Ether, which many experts say is better than Bitcoin's blockchain... Investors can submit funding proposals, on which the DAO users vote by submitting some of their tokens and a YES/NO vote. In the end, based on the tokens and YES/NO votes, the DAO's computer program decides on the outcome. Softpedia reports that the paper released Friday also suggests a series of mitigations to a design they say will "incentivize investors to behave strategically; that is, at odds with truthful voting on their preferences."

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Google Scholar Users Report Badly Malfunctioning Captcha

Sun, 05/29/2016 - 3:33pm
Google's search engine for academic research materials is blocking many users with a malfunctioning captcha screen, according to complaints on a Google help forum. "I'm a doctoral student and a professor, which means I use this extensively. Now I'm blocked from using it at all, even after answering all of the stupid image questions (3 times)," reads a typical complaint. Heart44 writes: A lot of researchers when using Google Scholar are being asked to prove they are not a robot. You have to find all the rivers (but not the sea or lakes) or all street numbers (but not other numbers) or all the store fronts from nine poor quality images, sometimes more than once and, surprise, you will fail more than two thirds of the time and then just get an error 400 "Malformed request, that's all we know". You are offered an audio challenge but clicking on that simply loads more pictures... Is that the best they can do distinguishing between man and machine? One post ended by stating succinctly "I'm not a robot, I'm an academic professional, and this process is wasting nontrivial amounts of my time. How do I stop it?"

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Doubts Raised About Cellphone Cancer Study

Sun, 05/29/2016 - 2:30pm
Vox is strongly criticizing coverage of a supposed link between cellphones and cancer suggested by a new study, calling it "a breathtaking example of irresponsible science hype." An anonymous reader writes: A professor and research monitoring administrator at an American medical school reported that to get their results, the researchers "exposed pregnant rats to whole body CDMA- and GSM-modulated radiofrequency radiation, for 9 hours a day, 7 days a week," and the results were seen only with CDMA (but not GSM-modulated) radiofrequency. "[F]alse positives are very likely. The cancer difference was only seen in females, not males. The incidence of brain cancer in the exposed groups was well within the historical range. There's no clear dose response..." An emeritus professor of applied statistics at the Open University in Britain also called the study "statistically underpowered..." according to Vox. "Not enough animals were used to allow the researchers to have a good chance of detecting a risk from radiofrequency radiation of the size one might plausibly expect."

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Systemd Starts Killing Your Background Processes By Default

Sun, 05/29/2016 - 1:33pm
New submitter nautsch writes: systemd changed a default value in logind.conf to "yes", which will kill all your processes, when you log out... There is already a bug-report over at debian: Debian bug tracker. The new change means "user sessions will be properly cleaned up after," according to the changelog, "but additional steps are necessary to allow intentionally long-running processes to survive logout. To effectively allow users to run long-term tasks even if they are logged out, lingering must be enabled for them."

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Massive Backlash Building Over Windows 10 Upgrades

Sun, 05/29/2016 - 12:33pm
Some Windows users are now disabling critical updates on their systems rather than face the prospect of mistakenly upgrading to Windows 10. An anonymous reader writes: "By pushing it on users in such a heavy-handed way, Microsoft is encouraging users who have very valid reasons to stick with Windows 7/8 to perform actions that leave their machines open to attack," writes PC World's senior editor. He adds that "Over the past week, I've received more contact from readers about this issue than I have about everything else I've written over the rest of my career combined." Now even China's official news agency is reporting that users are angry about stealthy Windows 10 upgrades, saying over 1.2 million complaints appeared on one microblogging site. It quotes a legal advisor with the Internet Society of China, who says Microsoft "has abused its dominant market position and broken the market order for fair play," saying that lawsuits would be justified over Microsoft's action. "Yang Shuo, a worker at a Beijing-based public relations company, told Xinhua that the sudden update interrupted his drafting of a business plan and led to a meeting cancellation for a deal worth 3 million yuan ($457,735). 'Just because I didn't see the pop-up reminder does not mean I agreed.'" In a possibly-unrelated development, the Chinese military plans to send nuclear submarines into the Pacific Ocean.

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Study Indicates Americans Don't Trust AI

Sun, 05/29/2016 - 11:33am
Taco Cowboy writes: It may be brilliant, but it's not all that trustworthy. That appears to be the opinion Americans hold when it comes to Artificial Intelligence systems... And while we may be interacting with AI systems more frequently than we realize (hi, Siri), a new study from Time etc suggests that Americans don't believe the AI revolution is quite here yet, with 54 percent claiming to have never interacted with such a system The more interesting finding reveals that 26 percent of respondents said they would not trust an AI with any personal or professional task. Sure, sending a text message or making a phone call is fine, but 51 percent said they'd be uncomfortable sharing personal data with an AI system. Moreover, 23 percent of Americans who say they have interacted with an AI reported being dissatisfied with the experience. I thought it was interesting that 66% of the respondents said they'd be uncomfortable sharing financial data with an AI, while 53% said they'd be uncomfortable sharing professional data.

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